The long wait to resolve doubts about dual nationality has come to an end as the district collectors have decided to invite claims and objections from those who have acquired Portuguese nationality or registered their births in Portugal. Sources said claims and objections have to be filed within three months.
People who want to file cases against those who have acquired Portuguese nationality but haven’t disclosed the same can also approach the collectors, sources said.
Six months after the Ministry of Home Affairs empowered district collectors to inquire into the issue of dual citizenship and make recommendations to the central government, the state government has published the Union home ministry’s order in the official Gazette.
It states that “inquiry shall be conducted in a fair and transparent manner, keeping in mind the provisions contained in the Citizenship Act, 1955, and the Citizenship Rules, 2009. After inquiry, the district collector shall make recommendations to the Central Government giving details of each case.”
The order, dated November 22, 2016, empowers both the district collectors of North and South Goa to invite applications and objections after due publicity.
Both the collectors will soon send the file to law department to get its approval and issue a public notice to invite claims and objections over Portuguese nationality.
Government statistics show that around 40,000 Goans have registered their births in Portugal—a provision offered by the state’s former colonial rulers to those born before Goa’s Liberation in 1961 and to their children—but holding neither a Portuguese passport nor a ‘bilhete de identidade’ (ID card).
Goa has debated dual citizenship issue, as several of those who have registered their births in Portugal—and this includes politicians, police personnel, bureaucrats, and even the common man—have also obtained a Portuguese passport or ID card, which is seen as tickets to working in Europe.
2012 | Dual citizenship issue came to fore after activist Kashinath Shetye approached investigating agencies seeking probe against MLAs, police and others
2012 | John Fernandes, a rival candidate filed a petition before Union home ministry seeking to cancel Benaulim MLA Caetano ‘Caitu’ Silva’s Indian citizenship as he is Portuguese national after he won assembly elections
2012 | Congress candidate Valanka Alemao also told high court of Bombay at Goa that Silva has ceased to be an Indian citizen on acquisition of Portuguese nationality from 2010 after filling disqualification petition
2013 | Union home ministry wrote to Goa government that Silva has ceased to be an Indian citizen with effect from July 2010.
2013 | Portugal foreign ministry had written to the Indian government that Aldona MLA Glen Ticlo who was granted Portuguese citizenship got his citizenship cancelled in January 2013
2013 | The JMFC court had directed the crime branch to registered FIRs against MLAs, police officials and others in dual citizenship issue
2014 | Chief minister Manohar Parrikar says he will solve the dual citizenship issue and approaches Centre to come out with a solution to dual citizenship
2014 | Panaji police registered FIR against 549 persons in dual citizenship issue
May 2016 | Union MoS for home affairs Kiren Rijiju announces an ‘authority’ in the state to deal with the issue
Nov 2016 | Centre empowers Goa district collectors to invite applications and objections after due publicity